I read an article recently that really hit home for me. It was called, Why Travel Is the Only Thing You Buy That Makes You Richer. A few years ago, I would have seen that title, laughed at the oxymoron, and kept on scrolling. It’s amazing how much someone can grow and change in just a year or two. Isn’t it?
When I saw that title, though, a grin spread across my face. My heart recognized a connection with the words. So, I clicked on it. The weight of those words settled deep within me, resonating with the truth.
When I first shared our nine-day trip plans, close family members and friends had lots of questions. They ranged anywhere from where we were going to how we were getting there. One question continued to pop up more than any other, though: How?
How can you afford that with inflation, four kids, and a small business that is just getting off the ground?
First of all- remember, it’s all about mindset.
I happen to value travel, culture, and experience, above most other things in life, outside of my family and faith. That’s one of the reasons my bio calls me a student of life! This can take many forms, but for me, travel is one of the essentials. I hope to pass this passion on to my children and grandchildren in the years to come. So, I prioritize travel into my budget.
If you don’t already have a budget for yourself, I highly encourage you to create one. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t matter whether it’s just you, or if you’re part of a family of ten. Budgets are handy, beneficial, and they keep a little bit of order in your life. It’s also eye-opening just how much you are dropping at your favorite coffee shop, restaurant, or, in my case, book stores.
With today’s prices, eating out once a week, for just one person, can cost anywhere from $8 – $20 dollars. That really adds up! In one year, you are spending anywhere from $416 to $1040 and that’s just for one person, on one meal, once a week. It might take some adjusting, but you can be intentional about one less coffee or fast food splurge a week. Get up a few minutes earlier and pack something instead. It will amaze you after just one month of tracking the difference.
I really like both Dave Ramsey’s plan and Rocket Money. They both have some free resources and print outs to get you started. Whatever works for you, use it. The important thing is that you know how much money is coming in, how much is going out and where you put priority at for your money.
The trip that we took as a family over spring break lasted nine days. I talked about it in part one of this series. We traveled through eleven states, stayed in four, and drove almost 5500 miles. There is no way that could have happened without some budgeting ahead of time! Show me the money. That’s what you have to ask yourself, along with where is my priority?
Going back to that article I read, the gas prices alone did not make me richer. My wallet did not suddenly grow a little more round in the middle. In fact, we spent a lot of time in Washington State, which currently has the highest gas prices in the United States. Needless to say, the pocket book felt it. But my heart, well, my heart was certainly a little more full. The memories we created will stay with me and I hope my children, for a very long time.
The time we spent together is not something that can be ordered on Amazon. FedEx can’t deliver it overnight. But the footprints in the sand, as my eight-year-old, who was terrified of the ocean, ran along the coastline giggling as the cold water hit his bare feet, are now imprinted on my heart and in my mind. My baby boy overcame a fear on that trip and now tells everyone how he got to touch the ocean and it was “so cold!”
The idea behind travel culture is to meet at the crossroads of travel and culture, and to fully immerse yourself in the experience. When you have accomplished that, you inspire others to immerse themselves as well, and the journey continues.
As we were at one of the final beaches we visited on the Washington coast, a storm was brewing. We quickly gathered up our things and began the trek back up the sandy walkway toward the parking lot when we passed a group of locals. I politely told them a storm was coming. They just smiled at me and said, “We know. That’s why we are here.”
Apparently, there are a few places on the beach deemed safe to sit and watch the storm. I wish words could describe how amazing of an experience that was. The waves crashed and storms whirled, but there was a peacefulness and excitement that we would have missed altogether, given our lack of knowledge. I always said I didn’t care much for storms. Now I know, I just hadn’t yet experienced the right kind of storm.
What you spend your money on tells a lot about what you prioritize in your life. The riches you gain from experiences will far outweigh the money spent. You will forget the dollars but, the memories stay with you. Share in the comments and on social media at least one vivid memory you have! How did it make you feel? What do you remember most about a previous vacation? Don’t forget to use #TravelCulture and #LiveYourLore.
Remember to make memories and #LiveYourLore
Until next time, friends!